Divorce Counseling: Is it for You … or Both of You?

Divorce Counseling: Is it for You … or Both of You?

In the heart of considering a life-altering event like divorce, where emotions run high and certainty seems a distant memory, finding a grounding force is essential. For some, divorce counseling can provide an anchoring presence, not just as a form of guidance, but as a sanctuary for understanding what is and is not possible, and processing complex emotions. 

Yet many are confused about what divorce counseling truly is, its distinction from divorce coaching, and how it might be helpful for them. Whether you’re facing a restructuring of your relationship alone or alongside your partner, a deeper understanding of divorce counseling could be another resource to help you along your path to healing and self-renewal.

What is Divorce Counseling?

Divorce counseling is a type of psychotherapy specifically tailored for individuals or couples going through a divorce. It aims to provide a safe space for expressing emotions, navigating the complexities of ending a relationship, and fostering a better understanding of oneself and the situation. This form of counseling addresses the psychological and emotional aspects of divorce, helping to manage stress, grief, and the redefinition of one’s identity post-divorce.

While both divorce counseling and divorce coaching offer support during the divorce process, they differ significantly in their approach and objectives.

Divorce coaching is more action-oriented, focusing on steps to get educated on what your choices are. It may include learning about the practical aspects of navigating a divorce, such as legal processes, financial planning, and coparenting strategies. Divorce coaching may also help you, as an individual, to understand your emotional journey through the crisis and the power of taking steps to honor your feelings. A good divorce coach’s goal is not to advocate for divorce but to help a woman feel empowered so she can make the best decision ultimately for herself.

Consider reading “How to Get Through a Divorce and Heal: The Surprising X Factor of a Divorce Coach”.

Divorce counseling, on the other hand, delves deeply into the emotional and psychological realms of divorce, offering a therapeutic space to understand the emotional impact of the divorce. Divorce counseling is widely recognized in the therapeutic community for its role in facilitating emotional healing and transition. It employs various psychotherapeutic techniques to address the unique challenges faced during a divorce. This form of therapy is often sought after for its ability to provide personalized support and strategies for coping with the end of a marital relationship.

Do They Advocate for Divorce?

A common misconception about divorce counseling and divorce coaching is that they might advocate for divorce. It’s important to dispel this myth and understand their true roles.

Neither divorce counseling nor divorce coaching promotes divorce.

Instead, their primary goal is to support individuals in making informed decisions that are best for their personal circumstances. Divorce counselors and coaches act as guides, helping clients navigate their feelings and choices without pushing them toward a specific decision.

In divorce counseling, the therapist provides a non-judgmental space where individuals or couples can explore their feelings, concerns, and fears about the divorce process. The counselor’s role is not to sway the decision but to support the client(s) in understanding their emotions and the impact of their choices.

Divorce coaching, while distinct in its approach, also steers clear of advocating for divorce. Coaches empower clients by providing tools and strategies to understand themselves and to potentially handle the practical aspects of divorce, fostering independence and confidence in decision-making.

Why Consider Divorce Counseling?

Divorce counseling can be helpful in managing the emotional aspects of divorce. It offers several benefits that cater to the mental and emotional well-being of individuals or couples.

  • Emotional Support and Understanding
    One of the primary reasons to consider divorce counseling is the emotional support it provides. It offers a space to process feelings like grief, anger, and confusion, helping individuals cope with the emotional upheaval that often accompanies divorce.

  • Conflict Resolution and Communication
    Especially for couples, divorce counseling can facilitate better communication and conflict resolution. It can help both parties understand each other’s perspectives and work toward resolving disputes more constructively. This is especially helpful if children are involved.
  • Guidance Through Emotional Stages
    Divorce counseling helps individuals navigate the various emotional stages of separation and divorce. The counselor guides clients in understanding their reactions and emotions, helping them adapt to the changes they are experiencing.
  • Personal Growth and Self-Discovery
    During and after a divorce, individuals often go through a period of self-discovery and personal growth. Counseling can assist in this journey, helping individuals rediscover their identity and build a foundation for their future.

Consider reading, “Life After Divorce: The Grief You Didn’t Count On.”

Opting for divorce counseling is fundamentally about addressing the emotional and psychological impacts of divorce, providing a framework for healing and personal development.

For Whom is Divorce Counseling Most Beneficial?

When considering divorce counseling, it’s important to understand who benefits the most from it – is it more suited for one spouse, or is it beneficial for both?

Individual divorce counseling can be profoundly beneficial when you are going through a divorce. It focuses on personal emotional healing, helping individuals deal with the loss of their relationship and the resulting tidal wave of changes in their life. This type of counseling is particularly effective for those who need a private space to process their feelings and plan their future.

For couples who are navigating divorce amicably or looking to minimize conflict, couples counseling can be extremely beneficial. It aids in fostering mutual understanding and respect, even as the relationship comes to an end. This form of counseling is especially helpful in cases where there are unresolved issues or communication barriers.

Ultimately, the decision to opt for individual or couple counseling depends on your specific circumstances and emotional needs of you and your soon-to-be ex. It’s about choosing the path that offers the most supportive and constructive environment for dealing with your divorce.

The Value of Divorce Coaching

While divorce counseling focuses on the emotional and psychological aspects of divorce, divorce coaching offers a more practical kind of support.

Divorce coaching is more action-oriented. It acknowledges the feelings you are having and aims to do something with them, by helping you break through the confusion by learning concrete answers to your situation. It may provide you with guidance in learning what your outcomes might be, in addition to offering you guidance on navigating the divorce process if you go there, focusing on goal-setting, decision-making, and developing a plan of action. Coaches work with clients to tackle the logistical and strategic aspects of moving through a divorce while caring for themselves emotionally.

Coaching is centered around empowering clients. It helps individuals gain confidence in their decision-making (whether they should divorce or not, for instance); and with their ability to handle the divorce process and the new chapters of their lives. This includes building skills in communication, negotiation, and self-advocacy.

While counseling deals with the “why” and “how” of emotional processing, coaching addresses the “what’s next”. In many cases, combining counseling and coaching can provide a comprehensive support system, catering to both emotional healing and practical planning.

Divorce coaching can be a valuable resource if you are looking to approach your divorce with a clear, strategic mindset, complementing the therapeutic benefits of counseling.

Both divorce counseling and coaching play vital roles in navigating the complexities of divorce. Whether facing this transformative phase alone or with your soon-to-be former spouse, these supportive resources can be instrumental in helping you move forward. Remember, prioritizing your emotional and mental well-being is not just a step toward resolving the present challenges, but also a significant stride toward a hopeful and resilient future.


Since 2012, SAS for Women has been entirely dedicated to the unexpected challenges women face while considering a divorce and navigating the divorce experience and its confusing afterward.  

Learn if divorce coaching might be right for you.  Schedule a free consultation to share your story and to hear our suggestions for your next, healthiest steps — whether you are thinking about divorce, dealing with it, or rebuilding the life you deserve.

Schedule your free consultation with SAS for Women.


*We support same-sex marriages. For the sake of simplicity in this article, however, we refer to your spouse as your “husband” or a “he.”

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